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Old dublin rock station

  • 01-12-2021 10:33am
    Registered Users Posts: 46

    When I was a kid in the 80's/90s my dad had a car with a rock104 (I think) sticker on the back window.

    I still have the car and want to get the sticker remade,

    as far I remember it was a red circle with white italic letters.

    Anyone remember the station or have a pic of the logo ?




  • Registered Users Posts: 24 ERLUAD

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,361 ✭✭✭KildareP

    You could contact FM104 on the off chance they have a few still knocking around!

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,197 ✭✭✭ford fiesta

    as if they would!! with the multiple location changes and ownership since I doubt it

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,361 ✭✭✭KildareP

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,787 ✭✭✭Declan A Walsh

    A bit of context here:

    Rock104 started life as Capital Radio in July 1989. It was the first licensed independent station for Dublin, and indeed in Ireland. In late spring/early summer 1991, it was renamed and rebranded as Rock104. As the license was for a general music station, its reorientation towards rock was very flexible. In April 1992, the station was renamed FM104 and has used that name ever since.

    Radio Nova, which is licensed as a classic rock station and is licensed for Dublin and its commuter belt, does have a number of musical similarities with the former Rock104. Amongst the current presenters, Greg Gaughren is the only one who was involved with Rock104 when it was called that. Former Radio Nova presenters that were with Rock104 include Colm Hayes (moved from Nova to Classic Hits this year), Enda Murphy, Carol Dooley and John Power.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 46 Scag Mattress

    That's it!

    Thanks so much .

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,197 ✭✭✭ford fiesta

    so it was only Rock 104 for 1 year ! Thought it might have been at least 2 years..

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,787 ✭✭✭Declan A Walsh

    I remember that period of 1991-1992 as there was a lot of swapping around between stations at the time including the whole Century Radio story which ceased on November 1991.

  • Registered Users Posts: 435 ✭✭TheBMG

    My memory may be playing tricks on me but I think they literally dropped the Rock 104 name on the same day the JNLRs came out! They ID’d as “104FM” for a few hours before using the “FM104 name which has served them well ever since.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,687 ✭✭✭✭Losty Dublin

    I think they were ran nameless for a couple of weeks back then. I'm guessing that the IRTC didn't meet until after aforementioned book was released so the brand change wasn't approved. By all accounts the morale in Ballast House had hit rock bottom; I dare say a communal bonfire of all and anything with the old name would have listed spirits no end 🤓

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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,197 ✭✭✭ford fiesta

    so how long were "104" in Stephen's Green SC Top Floor car park, before Ballast House (Dublin Quays/Westmoreland Street) move?

    from your post they were in Ballast House in early-mid 1991, when name change from Rock 104 was imminent.

    BTW they started in stephen's green in Jul 89, maybe they were not long there...maybe 1 year?

  • Posts: 533 ✭✭✭[Deleted User]

    It's probably also just reflective of the genres of the late 80s too and wanting to stand out from what was then branded as “Classic Hits, 98FM”

    Rock in 2021 is a far more tightly defined genre whereas in the 80s it was like “let’s rock!” and carried a much broader pop culture meaning.

    It may also have been a notion of having a distinct “rock and pop” vs “classic hits” licence in the old IRTC days.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,787 ✭✭✭Declan A Walsh

    I never thought of that before but maybe 98FM's original tag name of "Classic Hits 98FM" made the owners of Capital Radio think that they needed to differentiate themselves in their branding model. Of course, 98FM had got the same kind of license as Capital Radio but had decided at the time to emphasise older hits, but it did not stop them playing some chart stuff, as the license was more flexible than the station name suggested! I was saying that Radio Nova resembles Rock104 in some ways. As it happens, it also somewhat resembles the "Classic Hits" era of 98FM in some ways, as much of it was soft rock. Two of the presenters of Radio Nova were part of the original line-up of 98FM in its "Classic Hits" days: the aforementioned Greg Gaughren as well as Pat Courtenay.

    Things have a way of coming around again. When Lite FM launched, it had some similarities to the old "Classic Hits" era of 98FM. It subsequently rebranded as Q102. 4FM became Classic Hits 4FM and eventually Classic Hits!

    People that I first heard for the first time on Rock104 include Enda Murphy, John Power and Jonathan Philbin Bowman - I knew the latter from tv!

    Former Rock104 staff - where are they now: (Notes: 1. ignoring those who were on 104.4 FM before or since, 2. Not all those on Rock104 were there at the same time.)

    Enda Murphy - Sunshine 106.8 and Classic Hits

    John Power - Event management (as Noel Dicker) and online station GCR Digital Radio.

    Colm Hayes - Classic Hits

    Dave McGrath - KFM

    Carol Dooley - Sunshine 106.8

    Greg Gaughren - Radio Nova

    Scott Williams - Q102

    Liam Coburn - Q102

    Suzanne Duffy - Author

    Cathy Cregan - freelance journalist/newsreader with RTE

    Whatever happened to Justin McKenna? I'm sure I have forgotten a number of others from the Rock104 era.

  • Registered Users Posts: 435 ✭✭TheBMG

    Brad McNally (who sadly passed away recently) was the consultant for Rock 104 at the time and gave an interview to about his career. He said

    ”Didn’t get it right. I should have paid more attention to the locals who said rock means leather jackets here and heavy metal. I thought we could redefine it. BIG mistake”.

    They did build up the brand very well - it’s a shame it didn’t work.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,197 ✭✭✭ford fiesta

    In relation Declan A Walsh's post above, on Classic Hits 98FM, "Classic Hits" in the late 80s / early 90s meant songs that were up to 2 years old.

    Looking back to Classic Hits 98FM and Rock 104 in those days (very early 90s) were playing the same sort of music as each other (Genesis, Crowded House, George Michael, Duran Duran, U2, Elton John, The Bangles, Dire Straits, Alison Moyet etc ...I could go on)...But to me basically there was no difference in the daytime output.

  • Registered Users Posts: 435 ✭✭TheBMG

    Capital had been a pretty upfront CHR station at the very start but began to change after a few months.

    Shortly before the flip I heard them playing Talking Heads one afternoon and even as a clueless anorak I guessed that they were going to do something.

    About two weeks later they played non-stop U2 one morning with liners announcing “Capital 104 is dead”. Didn’t hear the relaunch itself but I think they had Paul Brady in to kick it off

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,590 ✭✭✭Infoanon

    Capital 104 initially launched with the 'hot hits ' format that had been so.successful on Sunshine 101. Unfortunately, imho , there was a lot more to the format then simply playing chart music and the initial listener figures were disastrous.

    Atlantic 252 at this stage was pulling that audience despite claims by Capital management that Atlantic could not be heard in Dublin. ...

    Then the Aussies arrived with their Rock format which Capital management bought into - it didn't work in the Dublin market.

    As an aside there was a Dublin pirate called Rock who then changed their name to....Capital.

    Prior to legislation Dublin had two Hot Hit stations - Sunshine and Q102 - and it was felt that there was a market for 2 legal hot hit stations .

    '98FM' was originally to be programmed by Bill Cunnigham - the PD of Sunshine and then Q102.

    Ultimately Bill was dropped and 'Classic Hits' 98FM was launched with figures Rock 104 could only dream of.

    Kiss 103 would later prove that there was a huge audience for a hot hits format in Dublin but by this stage FM104 had been born and 98 was starting to format drift.

  • Posts: 533 ✭✭✭[Deleted User]

    I’m not old enough to remember the late 80s in much detail, but I know the history a bit.

    I definitely remember trying to call 6797 FM104 and dialling the F M digits tho…

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,687 ✭✭✭✭Losty Dublin

    Clueless anora. A contradiction in terms if ever there was one 🤔

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,197 ✭✭✭ford fiesta

    why would you dial the FM part ? FM was not part of the number 6797104, It was just a tagline that the presenter used to say, to give out the phone number, promoting the station name at the same time.

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  • Posts: 533 ✭✭✭[Deleted User]

    Coz I grew up up partly in the US and phone numbers like (212) 555-TAXI were completely normal.

    I seem to remember a mobile number with 82 RED FM being used too and you dialled the letters in that case.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,687 ✭✭✭✭Losty Dublin

    I checked with my source and he thinks, what with it being 32 years ago and all of the pirate AM radio valves having radiated out much of his hippocampus, but he thinks that they were in Ballast house around September 89. The main reason why they started in the portacabin initially was because their studio facility hadn't been built in time for the mid July launch.

    And now you're up to date ☺️

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,197 ✭✭✭ford fiesta

    From this RTE Report at 2:08, it shows a visit to Capital 104 at Stephen's Green mid - late October 1989

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,787 ✭✭✭Declan A Walsh

    It was interesting to see Dave Kelly presenting. He was one of the original presenters on Capital Radio. He was to move into management and went behind the scenes, ultimately becoming Group Controller of FM104 and Q102 when they went under common ownership. I think it may have been just before the rebranding as Rock104 when Dave Kelly stopped being a presenter.

    What was the name of the guy from CKR (Carlow Kildare Radio) that turned up on Rock104 - was it Tom Baker? I did a Google Search to no avail. He presented a weekend show called the A to Z of Rock. After Rock104, Tom Baker (?) was a regular on CKR, and probably before as well. Years later, he turned up on the Kildare successor KFM. Is he still on radio...and did I get his name right?

  • Registered Users Posts: 435 ✭✭TheBMG

    You’re thinking of Tom Browne. Now showing off his creative talents in a different area

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,787 ✭✭✭Declan A Walsh

    Ton Browne indeed! His radio name was the same as a BBC presenter from the 1970s that used to count down the Top 20 - joint broadcast on Radio 1 and Radio 2!

    Like Tom, Dave McGrath, who presented a weekly programme promoting current Irish rock (its name had "Street" in it I think!) on Capital Radio and the first few months of Rock104, was to end up on CKR for a few years, followed by KFM. Along the way he presented programs on Midlands Radio 3 and community station Dublin South FM. It was a bit ironic that one of the first programs to be dropped from Rock104 was one which was very specifically rock-oriented!

  • Registered Users Posts: 521 ✭✭✭alzer100

    Excellent comment on Capital 104.4 short history!

    When Capital came on air in July 1989 it was programmed by Martin Block and managed by Mike Hogan. There was a rush to get it on the air as a Hot Hits formatted station as Bill Cunningham was rumoured to be behind Radio 2000 from a managerial and programming perspective. As his company had something like 8 US national programming director of the year awards under its belt, Block and Hogan wanted to hit the Dublin market first with that format. Cunningham always knew that there was a lot more to that format than just playing wall to wall contemporary hits. The listener needed to be kept engaged, excited and guessing as to what maybe coming next as the next promotion would be "coming soon" as heard on Sunshine 101 and some of the radio stations that he programmed in the US including KQKQ (Sweet 98 FM).

    In my opinion Martin Block did not implement the Hot Hits format on Capital 101.4 FM correctly, how could he? His heart was not in it as he detested the format. He only had about 6 months working alongside Cunningham at Super-Q. Cunningham did not implement any wacky promotions on Super-Q (although he had genuinely planned to) as the wireless and telegraphy act 1988 had been passed and the station was to be off the air by December 31st of that year. Cunningham cut short his contract by 6 months and returned to the US in November 1988.

    Paul Kavanagh did a much better job of implementing the Hot Hits format on Atlantic 252 and kept true to it until he stepped away from programming Atlantic in 1992.

    Denis O Brien was advised not to go with a Hot Hits format for Radio 2000 as a an AOR/Adult contemporary type format would yield greater revenues. Capital 104.4 did have high listenership figures but not in the preferred age group to please the advertiser and therefore produce healthy revenues Hence the financial success and popularity (from a shareholders perspective) of Classic Hits 98FM

    Presenters who hated the the Hot Hits format and to some extent disliked Cunningham (Greg Gaughran being one!) joined 98FM, but after a time realized that the station was bland, boring and a bit too safe.

  • Registered Users Posts: 521 ✭✭✭alzer100

    Capital 104.4 was essentially a Hot Hits formatted radio station from July 1989 to late July/early August 1990. Cannot recall the exact date but but it was a Friday afternoon/evening and Aidan Leonard had finished his drivetme slot at approximately 10 minutes before 7pm. He handed over to the news presenter as the stations news was at 10 minutes before the hour with Liam Coburn doing his first link after 7pm. During this time Capital had a studio microphone sound leakage problem which meant that if you were listening to the station on high quality hifi equipment you could hear studio conversations on the right channel when the news was been read. On this occasion Aidan Leonard was handing over to Liam and you could hear Aidan saying to Liam "Ah come on it's not that bad" as Liam told me later that he liked the Hot Hits format. It turned out that from 7pm the station was suptley dropping it's 104.4 FM signiture and simply calling itself Capital 104. Along with this the quantity of exclusive contemporary music from the US was been phased out and was being replaced with older music. The Hot Hits format was essentially dropped but even that did not sway the listener from 98FM. Capital relaunched twice the following year.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,787 ✭✭✭Declan A Walsh

    So which presenters left just before the rebranding to Rock104?

    Dave Kelly - As I said in an earlier post, he went behind the scenes in management.

    Scott Williams - he was one of the original presenters of Capital Radio and indeed the first voice heard on the day of its launch. He left for Century Radio but came back to Rock104 after the closure of Century. He is now the boss of Q102.

    Gerry Stevens - Did he leave before the rebrand? I am not sure if he might have been with 2FM before he ended up with 98FM for a number of years. It may or not have been still using the name "Classic Hits" when he joined. He is now with Q102.

    Mike Duggan - I think he went to the newly merged Wicklow station in 1991 East Coast Radio (now East Coast FM). He wasn't there all the time, but he came back to it.

    Jason Maines - I am not sure where we went after the rebrand, but I think he may have turned up in FM104 later. I think he may have done a brief stint with Q102 before retiring. Can anyone confirm?

    Aidan Leonard - Like Scott, he went to Century Radio. After its demise, after a few months away from the radio, he ended up as a presenter and a producer on 2FM. These days he still (AFAIK) a producer on 2FM, but also a presenter on RTE Gold.

    Ross Allen - Whatever happened to him?

    Incidentally, on my list of former Rock104 presenters, there was Chris Barry, who is now a presenter on online station More Music Ireland.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,197 ✭✭✭ford fiesta

    Aidan is not involved with RTE 2FM now. His full time role in RTE is head of RTE Gold and presenter, taken over from John Clarke when he retired.